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IPC “Satisfied” After Swiss Federal Tribunal Verdict

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has claimed satisfaction after an appeal by the Russian Paralympic Committee against its suspension was rejected by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The IPC suspended membership of the RPC in the wake of the World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned McLaren report. This report by Canadian professor McLaren alleged the presence of a state-sponsored doping scheme at a number of major events, including the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi. The suspension meant Russia was barred from competing at last year's Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after which the country set up an alternative version of the Games.

Russia initially appealed against the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that voted in favor of the IPC. The country then decided to appeal against the CAS verdict and the Swiss Federal Tribunal now has rejected RPC appeal. The Swiss tribunal ordered the RPC to pay CHF10, 000 in court fees to the Swiss Federal Court and CHF12, 000 to the IPC.

In a statement, the International Paralympic Committee said the Swiss Federal Tribunal considered that the CAS did not have to analyze whether the decision to suspend RPC from the IPC would hurt individual rights of Para-athletes, such as the right of natural justice or any right of personality. The statement further reads that the IPC has indeed has addressed these types of questions in several subsequent lawsuits by Russian Para-athletes and added the ruling court in each instance sided with the IPC.

The IPC statement also reads that the impact on individual Russian Para-athletes is a logical consequence of the IPC’s suspension of the RPC. It was also said that any suspended IPC member loses all rights including entering athletes into IPC-sanctioned competitions, including the Paralympic Games. The IPC’s statement added The Swiss Federal Tribunal also rejected the argument that Russian Para-athletes should be entitled to equal treatment compared to the Russian Olympic athletes after the Russian Olympic Committee was not suspended by the IOC. It was also said that the International Paralympic Committee is satisfied that its decision to suspend the RPC has been confirmed.

Previously, the anti-doping system in Russia was described by IPC President as "broken, corrupted and entirely compromised." IPC President Sir Philip Craven had accused the government of Russia of "catastrophically failing" its athletes.

Last month, two members of the Russian State Duma were denied entry into the country for a planned meeting with the International Paralympic Committee. The meeting was requested by the Russians to discuss the suspension and future reinstatement of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC).

Few months back, an IPC Taskforce led by British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkinson remarked the ban on Russia from competition should continue as the country is turning a blind eye to claims of a doping cover-up. In a report, Taskforce chairman Parkinson said the IPC Taskforce considers that Professor McLaren's findings must be specifically addressed, whether by acknowledging the findings and tackling the problems, or by properly rebutting the findings.

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Albert Wolfgang
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